1st Edition

Dialogues and Disputes in Biblical Disguise from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Edited By

Peter Toth

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 12, 2021
ISBN 9780367550882
November 12, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
304 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Dialogues and Disputes in Biblical Disguise from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages offers the first overall discussion of the hitherto under-studied literary genre of pseudo-biblical dialogues. The essays presented here analyse texts, which transform dialogues and disputations about contemporary theological, legal or philosophical matters into a biblical scenario as discussions between biblical characters. Such dialogues, involving demonic, human and divine figures are common and popular in the Oriental (Syriac, Coptic and Arabic) as well as Greek, Latin and medieval vernacular literatures, in prose and poetry alike, from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern. The present volume is the first attempt for a systematic and interdisciplinary study of this literature in form of thematically organized essays by some of the most eminent experts on Late Antique and Medieval dialogic texts in a wide range of traditions. Presenting surveys of pseudo-biblical dialogues in various languages and cultures, the volume will foster a new interdisciplinary approach to these texts previously investigated in isolation within the individual scholarly fields of Oriental, Byzantine, Medieval or Slavonic studies. It also endeavours to create new methodologies for their investigation informed by and also impacting both literary and biblical studies. Analysing the interplay between content and literary form, the contributions present an overview of the development of pseudo-biblical dialogues from Syriac, Coptic and Greek patristics to not only Medieval Latin and Byzantine but also Slavonic, Arabic and English texts, providing us with the first manual about this wide-spread and popular, but unexplored literature.

Table of Contents


Peter Toth

Part 1: Orientation

1. Dialogues: a world of imagination

Averil Cameron

Part 2: Surveys – Problems of Origin and Reuse

2. Biblical Dialogues in Syriac, Texts and Contexts

Sebastian Brock

3. Sitting on the Mount of Olives: Revelation Dialogues in Coptic Apocrypha from the Nag Hammadi Codices to the Edfu Manuscripts

Hugo Lundhaug

4. Dialogue in Byzantine Homilies and Hymns: The Human Encounter with Divine Truth

Mary B. Cunningham

5. Apocryphal Dialogues in South Slavic Miscellanies: "References" or "Relegations"?

Anissava Miltenova and Yavor Miltenov

Part 3: Case-Studies

6. Satan’s Lawsuits and Dialogues on Salvation in the Late Middle Ages

Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann

7. Disputing with the Devil: Dialogues from Medieval England

William C. Marx

8. The Intimate Conversations of God with Moses on Mount Sinai (Munājāt Mūsā): An Apocryphon from Islam to Christianity to Judaism

Barbara Roggema

9. Late Antique Techniques of Apocryphisation: The Case of the Agony of Christ

Peter Toth

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Peter Toth has a PhD in Classics and Oriental Studies and works as Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts at the British Library. His research interests comprise the study of late antique and medieval apocryphal literature and hagiography with a focus on cultural interactions between East and West, ancient and medieval, pagan and Christian.